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Boxing Day cancelled as Stratford can't cope

Filed: Thursday, 23rd November 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United specifically requested that they play away from home this coming Boxing Day in order to placate the owners of Westfield, according to new revelations.

The Telegraph's Sam Wallace writes that West Ham made the request on the basis that Stratford station would not be able to cope with a 50,000 football crowd in addition to the extra shoppers expected during the Christmas period. This has since been confirmed by the Premier League.

It is the second successive season that West Ham have asked to play away from home on Boxing Day. Last season United were sent to Swansea, whilst a trip to Bournemouth this year will provide its own logistical nightmares for Hammers hoping to see the game.

The revelation follows a request from the club earlier this year that the club's opening four games of the season - three in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup - be played away from home as a result of last summer's World Athletics Championship event.

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A club spokesman told the Telegraph: "“It is not uncommon for emergency services or other stakeholders to make requests to the Premier League to avoid certain fixture dates, however these requests will not always be granted by the Premier League and we fully expect to play at London Stadium on Boxing Day in future seasons."

Back in August, vice-chair Karren Brady insisted that West Ham fixtures would always take precedence over any other events in Stratford. "When we signed the contract in 2013 we were aware that the IAFF was going to happen," she said, in reference to last summer's games.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime situation and it's the only time our games won't take precedence." West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League, having accrued just nine points from their opening 12 fixtures.

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